Asia mission success
sions about projects they’re keen to undertake.
Visits from Japan Airlines and Vietjet are also in the works to talk about the possibility of establishing direct flights between Darwin and Japan and Vietnam.
Organising reciprocal visits was a key part of ensuring such trips weren’t a waste, Mr Gunner said.
“That way you know it’s a substantive conversation if they’re going to put people on a plane … you know they’re serious about an investment,” he said.
The six-day trip through Japan and Vietnam took Mr Gunner and a key group of top public servants and advisers to meetings with a number of business and government leaders.
It was his first visit to Vietnam as chief minister and second to Japan.
In Tokyo, Inpex boss Takayuki Ueda told reporters the company was serious about fracking the Beetaloo Basin and in Hanoi, Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh spoke of a direct air link between Darwin and Ho Chi Minh City to be established next year as a done deal – announcements which caught even the Territory delegation off guard.
Government enthusiasm for projects in communist Vietnam could prove crucial to their success.
“In Vietnam, like in China, if the Government wants something to happen, it will happen. But there’s still got to be a commercial basis underpinning it. If it’s not underpinned it won’t be sustainable,” Mr Gunner said.
Agriculture was another key focus of the trip. While in Vietnam, Mr Gunner spoke with representatives from industry body Meat and Livestock Australia about how to lock in and capitalise on Australia’s reputation for producing top quality beef.
About 85 per cent of regulated beef imports into Vietnam is Australian and 30 per cent of that comes from NT cattle stations. But it sits on supermarket shelves alongside inferior product from elsewhere in the world, often without distinction between the two.
Maintaining quality and creating a reputation for that quality would be key to convincing consumers to give beef a shot in a country where pork and chicken dominated.